VANCLEAVE, MS (WLOX) - It was a trend that began shortly after Hurricane Katrina; People moving north to higher ground. Nowhere is that more evident than in the Jackson County community of Vancleave. The area has grown over the past few years and because of that growth, would be entrepreneurs have seized an opportunity to open new businesses, several in the past few months.
One of those is a new bait shop that offers just about everything you might need to enjoy the outdoors. The owners saw a need and filled it. Mark Shelnutt is one of them.
"There's a lot of fishermen and hunters here in Vancleave, so we felt like it was something that was really needed and we opened it up and it's working," Shelnutt said.
When Drew and Beverly Kite opened their business, it lifted a big weight off their shoulders. It was a chance to come home and offer something unique.
"Vancleave is an ever growing community," Drew explained. "They didn't have a crossfit facility and we felt like it was something that we loved and if we love it that others around here would as well."
There's no doubt that growth in Vancleave is helping new businesses open up, and even prosper. It's also leading to something else: Existing businesses expanding because of that growth.
One of those businesses is Mizelle's Outdoors. It's added riding mowers, equipment rentals, and even party slides to lure in additional customers, according to owner Matt Mizelle.
"We just keep adding on and adding on as long as get the support from the community, which has helped. And that's about what it take to, I guess, make it now. You've got to do more than one thing," Mizelle said.
Up the road, a gently used furniture store has set up shop. The owners say two reasons made their decision to open a business an easy one.
"Because we saw that Vancleave was growing and we want to grow with Vancleave," Selena Odom said. "Not everybody can afford brand new furniture, so we're here to help those that can't."
In addition to the businesses profiled in this story, a 24 hour fitness center and a tanning salon have also opened in Vancleave in the past month.